Mills Fleet Farm plans store at Pabst Farms in Oconomowoc

Slated for site originally intended for regional mall

Rendering of Mills Fleet Farm in Oconomowoc by Stephen Perry Smith Architects. Rendering not available for Delavan site.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:58 pm

Mills Fleet Farm plans to build a 218,628-square-foot store  at I-94 and Highway 67 in the Pabst Farms development in Oconomowoc, according to plans submitted to the city, and hopes to begin construction in June.

The proposal for the Mills Fleet Farm store includes the main store building, a covered outdoor materials yard and a 4,900-square-foot convenience store with three car wash bays and gas station located on a 19 acre site. The parking lot would have spaces for 652 cars, according to plans submitted to the city.

If approved, this would be Mills Fleet Farm’s 18th location in Wisconsin. Other locations include Germantown and West Bend. In February 2016, New York-based investment firm KKR acquired Mills Fleet Farm, which has headquarters in Brainerd, Minnesota.

The project would be the first development at the Town Centre portion of Pabst Farms. A decade ago, developer Peter Bell’s 1,500-acre Pabst Farms development included plans for a 1 million-square-foot upscale regional shopping center, called the Pabst Farms Town Centre, northeast of I-94 and Highway 67.

Several other components of the overall Pabst Farms development plan came together, including East Lake Village in Oconomowoc, a 170 single-family home development built by Pabst Farms Development, two hotels, a 1 million-square-foot Roundy’s distribution center, and a neighborhood shopping center anchored by a Pick ‘n Save grocery store.

But plans for the upscale regional mall never moved forward and most of the other commercial development at Pabst Farms ceased during and after the Great Recession.

Plans for Walmart and Sam’s Club stores were announced for the Pabst Farms Town Centre in 2013, but the developer later backed away from those plans.

In July, Pewaukee-based Neumann Companies, Inc. announced plans to develop 351 single-family home lots at Pabst Farms, creating four new neighborhoods along I-94 in Oconomowoc and Summit.

At the time, William Niemann, executive vice president for Pabst Farms Development, said he believed the residential development could finally spark more commercial development in the project.

The company presented its plans on Wednesday to the city during a special architectural commission board meeting. The commission did not vote on the plans, but provided feedback, which was generally positive, said Kristi Weber, assistant city planner.

“I can usually get a good feeling and this feels like we are on the right track,” Weber said. “But it’s not up to me to decide. I would say Oconomowoc has a lot of good, high standards. At this point, I am optimistic. But you never know.”

The architectural commission will vote on the plan April 12 and then it will go the city’s plan commission.

Niemann believes Mills Fleet Farm would be wonderful anchor to the town center and could lead to additional retailers and entertainment venues.

“I’m very enthused about this,” Niemann said. “I think this is a retailer that will appeal to residents and i’m pleased to see a silo returning to Pabst Farms.”


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